If Gatineau MNA Stéphanie Vallée knew she was going to be appointed as Justice Minister, Minister for the Status of Women, and Minister responsible for the Outaouais in the new Liberal majority government, she certainly didn’t make it obvious. When asked on election night whether she expected a ministerial position, Vallée said she believed newly elected Premier Philippe Couillard would choose who he felt was the best qualified.
Clearly, Couillard has a lot of confidence in her.
“I’m surprised. Honoured. Mostly honoured by the trust that has come out of this nomination,” said Vallée.
This is the first time Vallée, 42, has been given a ministerial position since originally being elected in 2007. It is also the first time an MNA in the Outaouais has been given such a prestigious cabinet post since The Quiet Revolution in the 1960s.
As justice minister, Vallée will be responsible for designing legislation that will enshrine Quebec as a neutral province, all the while respecting religious diversity. “Services rendered by the government have to be rendered in a neutral manner, but it doesn’t mean religious beliefs are completely put aside,” she said. “We always said during the campaign we’d address this because accommodations need to be clarified. We want once and for all to put this behind us.”
Vallée constantly said the words “les vrais affaires” during the campaign, but she doesn’t want any Liberal neutrality legislation to be as divisive as what the Parti Québécois presented with their Charter of Values. “It is a very delicate issue and I’m taking it very seriously,” she said.